The WWE TV YouTube Experiment
I have an experiment that I wish to conduct. I don’t know if it will be successful or, indeed, any good at all, but that’s why experiments exist. I don’t have it in me to watch current WWE programming. I haven’t watched a single full episode of RAW or SmackDown since mid-July 2018. I haven’t even been able to bring myself to watch clips on YouTube. I’m gonna try, though, because that’s the experiment! Here’s a brief introduction of what led me into this foray:
I Stopped Watching WWE in July 2018
With the exception of the 2019 Royal Rumble event (which I enjoyed) and WrestleMania 35 (which was… there), I haven’t watched a WWE pay-per-view offering since Money in the Bank 2018 (it was okay). Come to think of it, with the exception of Brock Lesnar versus Daniel Bryan from the 2018 Survivor Series (and the aforementioned Rumble and ‘Mania) I don’t think I’ve seen a single WWE PPV match since the Men’s MITB Ladder match in 2018. I didn’t like it — the Women’s one was great, though.
Long story short, I no longer watch WWE. I barely keep up with the product at all, to the point that I generally don’t even read results or reviews of anything. I almost feel sad about the fact that I don’t even miss it. Almost.
But, experiments! I love experiments. So, for the greater good of the scientific community, I must perform the WWE TV Youtube Experiment. I can spare about an hour and a half each week watching the clips WWE uploads to their official Youtube Channel.
I’m going into this with an open mind. I spent too many years not enjoying WWE but watching anyway, essentially out of habit. The product got worse as time went by, so I quit. By many accounts (my Twitter feed, opinions I read on Facebook and Reddit occasionally), WWE may be worse now than it was a year ago when I threw in the towel. However, the people I interact with and pay attention to on social media (my Twitter feed especially) is skewed toward the negative.
I see complaints and negative opinions from people who seem to despise the shows but continue to watch week in and week out. Some do it because they desperately want it to get better (that makes no sense, but keep wasting your time on something you hate, I don’t mind) and some people watch because they have a website or a podcast, so they have to do it for the content of their show. I get that. Some of those people are my good friends, and some of those people make decent money subjecting themselves to the self-admitted torture of Monday Night RAW.
I do it… FOR SCIENCE!
The Scientific Method
As with any experiment, I’ll start with the scientific method:
I can’t stand to watch WWE TV. WWE uploads clips of their shows to the official WWE YouTube Channel. That gives me the opportunity to turn a 3-hour marathon into a 50-minute clip show.
More people across the world have access to WWE on Youtube than any other medium that exists. Ostensibly, one would say that the company would offer up their best available free content via that platform. If I only watch the content WWE deems worthy to upload to their largest social media platform, YouTube (44 million subscribers compared to 39 million fans on Facebook and 10.5 million Twitter followers), will I enjoy what they want me to see?
A) WWE uploads snippets of their best available free content on YouTube, and I dislike it.
B) WWE uploads snippets of their best available free content on YouTube, and I enjoy it.
WWE uploads what they think is best served to get people to want to watch their full shows, or buy their pay-per-views, or subscribe to the WWE Network. I believe this to be the truth. I also believe that the quality of the one-to-five minute clips will be indicative of the quality of the long-form full weekly product.
Even though I will enter this experiment with an open mind (I am the control and the variable because I am a scientist and therefore can do whatever I want), I anticipate that I’ll dislike, or at best be uninterested in, the content that I consume. This falls under hypothesis A being correct. My personal hope is that hypothesis B is correct, and not only because the journey to the outcome of A would entail subjecting myself to 2 months of torture. I also truly do wish to enjoy what I see, because I watched WWE for 20 years straight. I don’t miss it, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t welcome it back if I thought it was worth my time.
This will come after SummerSlam. Which hypothesis is correct? A or B?
The initial results and report will be submitted at the conclusion of SummerSlam week, which includes the episodes directly preceding and proceeding the PPV event. If I wish to continue this experiment after my initial results are published, I will do so. That is to be determined at a later date.
Length of experiment/
8 weeks (9 episodes of RAW, 8 episodes of SmackDown)
RAW/ June 17, 2019 – August 12, 2019
SmackDown/ June 25, 2019 – August 13, 2019
I will pay attention to the WWE YouTube Channel in order to watch any other videos that I would consider pertinent to the experiment The WWE 24/7 Championship has its own playlist, for example. I may take a look at the videos on that playlist that aren’t also part of the RAW and SmackDown ones.
I will not be reading full show results or reviews. I will continue to be part of the discourse on various social media platforms, but in order to keep my perspective based mostly upon WWE’s YouTube selections I will not seek out full results. If it didn’t make it to YouTube, I will make the assumption that it wasn’t relevant to WWE’s storyline goals. Filler, perhaps, would be an apt term for content that doesn’t make it to YouTube. While that may not necessarily be true, it is assumed to be true for this experiment.
Side Note: While I won’t be reading full reviews, I will peruse them in order to watch the YouTube videos in the order in which the segments appeared on TV.
If I see a lot of buzz surrounding a full match that happens on RAW or SmackDown, I may watch the match. This does lead to the possibility of slightly skewing the results of the experiment, but I’ll take that risk.
I have no idea how WWE recaps PPV events on YouTube, or if they do it at all. If they do, and I’ll find out very soon, then those recaps will be included in this experiment. Those would include Stomping Grounds (June 23), Extreme Rules (July 14), and SummerSlam (August 11). I’ll figure that out as it comes along. The only thing that matters to this experiment are the results and other happenings on those events because this experiment pertains to the content of RAW and SmackDown.
It is very unlikely that I will watch Stomping Grounds, but if the YouTube clips for RAW and SmackDown cause me to be so inclined, I may check out Extreme Rules and/or SummerSlam. If that occurs, it would be a sign of a positive outcome for this experiment and would go a long way in proving that my prediction (hypothesis A being correct) is wrong.
The majority of this experiment will be taking place during New Japan’s G1 Climax Tournament (July 6 through August 12). That tournament will be taking precedence over this experiment. This experiment is something I am doing for my own amusement. It will hopefully also help me with my writing because my writer’s block has been so unbelievably overwhelming. I have a goal with a set timeframe. I’m doing this for me, but I hope you come along for the ride and I hope that we all enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, well, my bad. I’ll try to be entertaining. If I don’t enjoy it, well, that sucks. But hopefully, it will help pull me out of my writing slump.
I do not anticipate a regular schedule for my reviews. While I will attempt to have RAW reviews posted on Tuesdays and SmackDown on Wednesdays, there will be times (more often than not, probably) where they won’t come until later in the week. Sometimes I may put them together if I don’t have much to say about a particular episode. Just come to the website every day and enjoy the other great content we have. My stuff will pop up at some point every week. You’ll see it.
Nick Marsico/ Writer (Kinda)
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